Wednesday, March 03, 2010

A Beautiful Day

What a gorgeous day to be a homeschooler!!! This is all so new to me, and what fun it is to actually go to the park for a picnic and ride bikes because it is too stinking pretty to be inside! This is a scattered post with little observations. I simply don't have time for long ones every day but feel like I want to capture certain things here on the blog to read a year down the road. I alos apologize if you have emailed me and it is taking much longer than usual to answer. I am just overwhelmed with a lot on my plate right now and trying to best I can to remain afloat. I appreciate hearing from you all so much!

Here goes some rather random thoughts. Sorry it isn't of much value!:

1) We drove by a cemetary today and neither girl knew what it was. I had to play dead for them to get it. Another surprising and unexpected gap in life knowledge.

2) Ordering at Subway with 2 kids who don't speak English is a bit interesting. And time consuming.

3) American coins make no sense, Tenge does. Why is a dime smaller than a penny, but worth more? Tenge increases in size as the value goes up. Much smarter.

4) Homeschooling leaves opportunities for unexpected lessons. We met 2 very kind young men at the park today while riding bikes after our picnic who were playing Disc Golf and came up to the kids to share their discs and show them how to play! Love impromptu learning!! We might just get ourselves a set of discs and have some inexpensive fun!

5) Eyes flew open wide when they learned we have more than one park to play fact we have 7 or 8 different parks to play at! WOW!!! That is Olesya's exact word!

6) Matthew is extraordinary, what a loving brother and son he is! Already a man in so many ways. Today as they were riding bikes up a super steep hill, he walked back down and got Olesya's bike and walked it all the way up for her because it was too hard for her. He loaded heavy bikes into the van all by himself. He came home after all that fun while the other kids went back outside to play this afternoon and without a word from me got his school work out to work on his physics lapbook because he knew he hadn't accomplished enough this morning. Without him as our "tone setter" in the family, I sincerely doubt we would ever be as successful at adding other children as we have been. Even Angela eyes him with an air of deep respect. It is well deserved! Anyone thinking we are responsible for this working with both Kenny and the girls needs to also think of a 10 year old little boy with incredible compassion and kindness...and wisdom.

7) Softball - First try today to throw, catch with a real mit and hit. Oh my, Angela is going to be SO good eventually!

8) Working our way to the bottom of our 3rd Supersized Ketchup bottle since arriving home. Anyone want to invest in Heinz?

9) Matthew asked me today in the car on our way to school to meet with a teacher who offered time to encourage and provide some advice for working with the girls: "Mommy, why do so many people want to help us?". My answer "It's not because we are special, it is because others are listening to God talking to them, and God is giving us hugs through others to make it through the hard times.". Loved even more that my explanation made perfect sense to him.

10) Do you know you have somehow adjusted to your new family size fairly quickly when 3 weeks later you have invited 2 other kids over to spend the night on the same night...and you don't bat an eyelash thinking of 7 kids in your house?

11) I love our huge van. It's big, it's ugly, I don't have to worry about getting the seats stained because they are already torn and a wreck. It holds a ton of stuff and I feel like a bus driver when behind the wheel. It has no carpeting and the flooring is ripped up so we much it out and load it back up with muddy bikes without a care in the world. It is ripe for doing some sort of funky painting on the outside because it is so old and the paint is in such bad shape it doesn't matter. I no longer care what others think about us being one of "those" families, this is FUN! Most importantly, no car payment!! Hunka Junk = Financial Freedom!

12) Think we have a homeschooling storage solution...until we try something else...we never seem to be quite happy with how we are situated. Black file totes, a rolling cart with drawers, tighten up the entertainment center and remove doors that no longer open and store totes for each kiddo...linen closet becomes craft and book storage. Where linens will go, anyone's guess, but we'll figure it out.

13) Ministry homework still not done. Got to focus, why am I blogging instead of examining my personal statement of faith and rewriting it???

14) Cleaned out kitchen cupboards and drawers, discarded many heavy glass bowls in favor of 2 $5 sets from Wally World so kids don't drop them and they shatter and break our tile. Created space for 2 bread drawers. Also need to find place to stash 3 rolling pins...we are going to do a lot of Dough Work around here this semester!! Tomorrow...Orange Rolls!

15) What will be worse to clean up...Mud Season mud on the floors or Summer wet grass from sprinkler runs?

16) 7 people generate a lot of laundry. I mean a lot.

17) Now we are being stared at not because our kids don't match us (or maybe that too) but because walking around with 5 kids in tow is a lot of little ducklings trailing behind me.

18) Why when I do these lists do I feel remiss somehow if I don't have 10, 15 or 20 items? Why does it feel weird to end at 18?

19) A 40 gallon water heater for a family of 7 does not cut it. Ever.

20) I have never felt more like I am doing exactly what God wants me to do, and I have never, ever, ever felt more richly blessed. We have amazing children, and watching in the rear view mirror as Joshie lays his head down on Olesya's lap as she has her arms wrapped protectively around him was enough to make me want to pull over and sob today.

21) Thank You God for modest daughters. Today we went to try and find a swim suit for Angela as we had not yet found one and we start swimming on Friday. Target, Walmart and JCPenney's are our only options in town for reasonable stuff...and everything in her size nothing I would ever want my daughters to wear. Can we say that I will not allow the girls to look as if they are ladies of the evening??? Much to my surprise, Angela flatly refused to consider any of them and shyly asked if she could find something with shorts, because she didn't like so much of her body showing. We ended up as a last resort at Sports Authority, where I got slammed for $50 for a bathing suit and swim shorts. But considering the alternative and my gratitude for her attitude, it was the best $50 I have ever spent, and I did so with a smile on my face. OK... a grimace behind it as I tucked the receipt in my purse, but the smile was still there. I am SO GLAD we are not having to argue about what is appropriate, and that their sense of what is decent is the same as ours. Coming from the culture, definitely not a guarantee. Again, Thank You God for making at least one thing easy!

22) So will it be that hard to find appropriate clothing from now on for ANYTHING for them without spending a forture???

23) When baking banana bread the other day I forgot to share that the girls asked to taste flour and baking soda, the look on their faces was priceless.

24) Who'd have ever thought they'd eat salsa?

25) Girlie screams are heard around the house often. Problem is they are usually Kenny and Matt's. Puberty will change that in time.

26) Olesya's name is pronounced like O-les-ee-ah. Sorry I keep forgetting to post that when several of you have asked.

27) How are Joshua and Kenny feeling about homeschooling as Joyce asked? Sort of left out, yes, at moments. But they each are having a great year and love their teachers a lot, and that helps. We have explained that the girls need us 100% right now and they understand and agree. But it about broke my heart this morning when out of the blue Joshua said with tears in his eyes that it bothers him that all his family is at home and he is not with us, that he misses us...then wiped the tears away and went on to talk about Walking Club at school and how many charms he is getting on his necklace. We all are going through rough spots right now, and if I do say so myself, the kids are doing an admirable job of exhibiting compassion and understanding that everyone's needs are different...and Mommy is only one person and we don't want her head to explode. Kenny and Josh are just as much heroes to all of us as anyone else in the family, and it speaks to the closeness the kids all feel for one another that anytime the 3 homeschooling are out they mention the other boys and wish they could be there, or if they get a treat they ask for one for the boys too. It is not easy being a LaJoy right now, but love is carrying us through.

28) Banana consumption has slowed, we actually have a couple left from this last batch that will go bad before being eaten. Whew! Maybe ketchup consumption will slow in time as well.

29) Funny how people ask how we are communicating with no shared language at this stage, and then I talk about conversations we have had with the girls as if they were "real" conversations...and for us they are. It is amazing how much can be communicated with pantomiming, a super limited vocabulary, and a smile partnered with the desire to share.

30) Got asked about Santa Claus today and how he came into our house. Wheels are turning on that one as Angela asked "Pappa Clause" and I said only "Santa Clause!" and pointed to the wood stove. Her eyes widened and she said "Malinky!" and I said "Nyet"...and she stood there staring at it awhile. Wouldn't it be nice to get once Christmas with magic for them both before they embark on their next stage of adulthood? Doubt it will happen at this age, but the look in her eye made me wonder if it is possible.

This post was supposed to be shorter. I obviously failed and am tired, and will now go to bed.

Night all!


Karen said...

Great post...and on so many levels.

I can't resist--rather than paint your van, why not use Sharpies? I will show you some pics of a vehicle in KY that turned out super cool.

Anonymous said...

Storage for what was in your linen closet: look for inexpensive covered plastic containers made to fit under beds. That can be a great place for sheets, pillow cases, blankets, and even towels. Pat

Anonymous said...

Sooooo, maybe by Fall Joshie and Kenny can join the LaJoy's school day adventures? :-)

Anonymous said...

That was a great post, I really enjoyed it!

I am so happy to hear that everything is working out so well for the girls thus far....I think of them and your family often. I check the blog every morning when I get to work. Keep going strong, and treat yourself once in a while deserve it!

...Betsy in Montana...

mimifrancoise said...

YOu could use an inexpensive chest of drawers (look at garage sales or thrift stores), and then paint it with chalk board paint adn store the homeschool supplies in it. There is a photo of one in a blog I read once in a while. It is at
Keep up the good work you are doing a fabulous job with your family. Not being a native speaker, I can empathize with your daughters. It took me a few months to be able to hear the difference between "paper" and "pepper", ot "hungry" and "angry". I was 18 when I came here and , yes, trying to learn the coins was a challenge. It didn't make much sense to have a dime smaller than a nickel. learning unit of measurement, was not fun either. The metric system is so much simpler. I have been in the USA for over 50 years, and still do my mental calculations in French.

Lindsay said...

Underbed storage is always good - do you have an Ikea anywhere near?

Or online shopping (ditto for clothes) if it is not an urgent need. Maybe the online Ikea store or or the would give you something the local store doesn't carry if you don't mind waiting for delivery?

Anonymous said...

13--You already have your statement of faith in these blogs, just edit some of your paragraphs out of selected blogs.

28--bananas freeze. They turn black, but are still in the same shape otherwise, and when you have enough, you bake more banana bread.

As to Karen's suggestion, I have some colored Sharpies, but if you are going to do a whole van, I would do a section at a time after I found a wholesale supplier of Sharpies.


Lisa in CO, USA said...

Love your posts. So much good information!